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Legitimate Rape Comment Leads to Legitimate Crisis Snafu
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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By the time you read this today, Missouri could be minus one Republican senator. No, I mean it. Legitimately. 

Okay, you got me. Yes, I'm talking about the poster boy for women shut down everywhere, Representative Todd Akin (R-MO). Amazing how one slip of the tongue, one note of cerebral flatulence, can crater an entire career, isn't it? Well, it did in Akin's case, as he was kind enough to offer an interview on St. Louis FOX affiliate KTVI. What he said there is now making headlines everywhere as he was innocently asked about his views on the loaded subject of abortion:

My understanding from doctors is that it's rare for someone to become pregnant from legitimate rape. The female body has ways to try and shut down that whole thing down.

In case you're wondering, Senator Akin did not major (or even pass) in college Biology. Republicans want his job. Democrats want him extinct. Missourians want him to step down from the Senate nomination. Women everywhere just want him to shut the H-E-double-hockeysticks up! Quite naturally, after Akin took one step outside the FOX 2 studios and saw a swoon of tomatoes being hurled in his direction, he wanted to retract his statement with the classic PR move, "I misspoke." 

Well, of course, that's not a PR move, because it's senseless. MEMO to this dolt's PR team: Crisis Communications 101 would tell you to immediately find a broadsword and fall flat on that baby. Don't blame a brief mishap when his brain goes into screen-saver mode. He said something idiotic and he needs to own it, not spin it dizzy. But here goes nothing: In an ad Akin provided to Politico, he shares:

Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words and for that I apologize...Rape can lead to pregnancy; rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness. 

Indeed. By the way, what does that even mean, "not in the heart I hold"?! Nevermind that. Akin has taken to social media. He has issued numerous statements. He will not conduct live interviews at the moment. (Scheduling conflicts, I'm sure.) Moreover, he is trying to reach out to the hardcore conservatives in America for compassion. Is that the proper response in this crisis?

Akin has "legitimate" reason to be scared, but his constituents have the same reason to vote his tail right out of office. Of course all I care about is that if I gorge on this Po Boy I have in front of me, will my stomach reject it for sake of its legitimacy to my diet? That, or should I just go out and buy that new Ben & Jerry's flavor "Legitimate Grape"? 

BTW, I forgot something...that's another fallback to any public ballyhoo like this: Everyone wants to break out their joke series. I'll be here all week. Tip your waiters. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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